Letters from Our Boys

February 12, 1945

Dear Friends:–

I believe it’s almost a year ago or more since I’ve last written you.  So I think it’s due time that I write again.

First I want to thank you for your efforts put forth in getting the “Beacon Lights” to me and in making it such a fine piece of material of spiritual inspiration.

I am now stationed at Fr. Benning, Ga., finishing my parachute training.  I’ve been in the army practically two years now, and have been fortunate enough to still be in the U.S. although it seems quite positive that I’ll be on my way over, within a few weeks.  I realize that I’ll soon have the task before me of jumping by parachute behind enemy lines with all possibilities of ambush or any other type of disaster to my physical being.  But I’ll always take with me my Lord’s words of comfort in Matt. 10:28: He is my shepherd in life so also in death.  The enemy can kill my body but not my soul.

I’ve been unfortunate since I’ve been in the Army of not ever having with me or even meeting a Christian friend to associate with.  In the January issue of “Beacon Lights”, I noticed a Peter Luyk of our church stationed at Ft. Benning, so I tried to look him up and I ended my search with the information that he had been shipped out.  I believe Christian fellowship is one of the biggest sacrifices the boys in the service have to make.  I hope all our young people are taking full advantage of the gracious gift of Christian fellowship, because they cannot realize the value of this gift until God makes you stand alone.

I like the weather here in Georgia quite well; it is quite comfortable the year around.  And as for the G. I. chow here, it’s the best I’ve had since I’ve been in the army.  As for my work, I guess it’s only natural that it can’t be enjoyed at certain times but otherwise it isn’t too bad.

A brother in Christ,

Pfc. Harold Kelderman (Oskaloosa)

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Dear Friends,

I have just received another copy of the Beacon Lights and decided to wait no longer to express my thanks and appreciation for such worthwhile and wholesome literature.  Especially over here where good reading material is scarce, it seems to be doubly welcome and I can assure you that every page is eagerly devoured.

There’s not a great deal to be said about our activities over here except that we are kept pretty busy most of the time.  I was in France, Belgium and Netherlands for a while—the latter proving the most interesting to me because I could carry on conversations with the civilians fairly well despite my limited Dutch vocabulary.

Church services are held every Sunday and usually once during the week.  They are conducted in some evacuated building as a rule or else out in the open.

So far we’ve been able to sleep in buildings of one sort or other and they are much more comfortable than a little pup tent pitched in a cold field or damp woods.  Our mail service is very good and the food likewise, so conditions are all right.  I surely miss the sermons I formerly heard back home and also the various church activities that afforded us Christian companionship and a better knowledge of the real truth.  I hope it won’t be too long before we can return home again and take our old places, but we must constantly pray that God’s Will may be done and that we may be gratefully submissive.  For after all, we are but pilgrims on this earth and we look forward to that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

It is my prayer that this work may be richly blessed and that it may continue sending its rays of light all over the world.

Cpl. Cornie Yonker (Fuller)

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Southwest Pacific

Dear Friends,

As usual I received my Beacon Lights again.  It was somewhat late due to my constant moving around.  However late or not I’m still glad to receive them.  Besides our letters from home they are the only religious guidance and help we get.  As usual us Marines are constantly moving about.  I am now located on a tropical island which is the same as all the rest of them, hot sun, palm trees, natives, and not much to do.  It is only a few days till Xmas; it certainly won’t seem much like Xmas without some of that Michigan snow.  This will not be a very merry Xmas for us fellows, but then the true spirit of Christmas seldom comes out in a merry one.  We expect to have a few days off for Xmas and I plan on exploring the parts of the island that I haven’t seen.  There is much I could tell you about this island but we are under strict censorship so I guess it will have to wait.

This is rather short but it covers just about all I can write on.  Thanking you for the Beacon Lights I have received and those I hope to receive.

Pvt. David Meulenberg (4th Church)

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England, Jan. 17, 1945

Dear Friends,

I enjoyed the three issues of Beacon Lights I received recently very much.  I really appreciate this link with the home church and the young people of the various societies.  It helps to relieve the worldly atmosphere of an army barracks to have something worthwhile to think about.  I only wish our magazine were larger.

I’ve been in the E. T. O. for six months now and have almost completed my combat tour.  A few more missions and I’ll be homeward bound with the possibility of a short leave at home.  It’ll be a real treat to be able to attend our own church services again.

John De Vries (Roosevelt)